The "final rule" issued June 28 by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has our legal team and me scratching our heads — because nothing has changed. This HHS rule would still force EWTN and other Catholic agencies to cover in our health-care packages contraception, sterilization and abortion-inducing drugs, though the government assured us we wouldn’t have to violate our moral stance to supply health care to our employees.
The final rule is sorely inadequate.
Specifically, it imposes the same narrow definition of a church, does not expand the exemption beyond churches, and still provides a meaningless "accommodation." In short, it appears to have ignored the unprecedented number of public comments, including those filed by EWTN, that have been made against this HHS mandate.
Despite this news, we are encouraged by the recent court victories for Tyndale House Publishers and Hobby Lobby, highlighted in our page-one story, because these cases demonstrate that the rule unfairly limits religious liberty and First Amendment rights. We and our legal team at the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty will continue to assess our options.
EWTN remains committed to fighting this senseless mandate, and I am ever grateful for your continued prayers and support.
God bless you!